Monday, June 25, 2007

Yay!! We get to clean!!!!!

We went to McDonald's last night to let the boys play in the play area and also to grab a quick dinner. We also thought it might be time for Week Three of the free DVDs (one free every week for four weeks from RedBox, the new McDonald's video rental place... it wasn't time yet, darn it.)

Okay, I need to set the stage a little better for this story. Let me take you back in time.

I went to a Discovery Toys party a couple of weeks ago, and ordered a bunch of really fun stuff for the boys, one of which was a frog sprinkler that you throw balls into the frog's mouth and it spits them back out at you. Well, I got my order yesterday, and Griffin spied the sprinkler and really wanted to play with it. I told him that we needed to clean up the toy room first and pick which toys we would store in the basement or give away to other children so that he doesn't have so many toys to clean up every time we clean the toy room. So he knew that as soon as he ws done helping Mommy clean up the toy room, he was going to get to discover the wonders of the frog sprinkler.

Okay, now back to McDonald's. We had eaten and they had played, and we were ready to leave. Mike caught Griffin as he came down the slide, and sat him in a nearby chair to put his Elmo sandals on. Griffin started to protest, because he would never leave if given the choice. I knelt down beside him, and to the great amusement of the family sitting at the table next to us, said "Griffin, remember? We get to go home and clean up the toy room!!!" At this, a great big grin spread over his face, and he very excitedly said "Okay, Mommy!! Yay!!!"

They must have been very amused at the poor little boy whose idea of fun was cleaning up his toys. Poor thing. What a boring life he must lead.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's Been Too Long!!!

I have started going to the gym to work out with a friend. We have just finished our third week of going every Monday through Thursday. It is very invigorating, and I love the energy boost I get. It must be all of those endorphins working. I don't even need caffiene anymore! And I have been eating less, most of the time, I'm not sure why. It's not because I don't want the food, it's more that I realize now when I am full and can push my plate away and not finish every single bite. Now I just need to work on not putting as much on my plate to begin with. I still feel like I should clean my plate, and that is not conducive to losing weight when you still take star-quarterback-of-the-football-team-size portions. So portion control is the next thing I will work on, now that it is a habit to wake up four days out of the week and get ready for the gym automatically. And then perhaps I'll tackle the actual foods I am ingesting. Many of which are somewhat less than nutritious. I am eating more fresh fruits and vegetables than ever before, which is a good start, but my intake of processed foods and fast food leaves something to be desired. Like a tummy tuck.

Griffin is three now, I can't believe it! I'll post pictures from his party here sometime. Our laptop is on the fritz, and I don't think it can be repaired, and that is where I did all of my picture-posting. This computer is old and antiquated, and picture-posting is very time-consuming and difficult on it. So for now, I just get to blabber away and fill this void with my words of wit and wisdom.

So anyway, back to Griffin. He is talking ever so much lately, and can hold his own in a conversation with any adult. Especially if said conversation pertains to Thomas the Train, Caillou, Bob the Builder, sandboxes, dump trucks, excavators, rollers, cranes... you get the drift. He will also talk to anyone who asks about fire trucks, sirens, and flashing lights. Another fascination of his.

Sammy is becoming quite the little talker too. He loves balls, and any time he sees anything remotely resembling a round object, he yells -- at the top of his lungs, mind you -- "BAH!!!!!" and points his little finger at the object of his desire. This is especially fun for him if we are in a multi-level parking garage (echo factor), a mall with a big open area and several floors (echo factor with more people watching), a library (Mommy reaction factor), a bookstore (Mommy reaction factor Number Two), need I say more? He also loves the "Kee-ee!" (kitty) and the "Chit-choo" (train). When he wants down from any place he needs help getting down from, it is "A-wahnt-dahw," and he uses that liberally anytime we place him into that torturous device, the restaurant high chair. Or the one at home, but at least he actually eats something before proclaming his "A-wahnt-dahw" when we are at home. Yeah. We don't eat out much at restaurants. We're drive-through kind of people.

I've been keeping up with laundry quite well for the last month or so. I got tired of not being able to put together a decent outfit. I know I have plently of clothes, they were just always buried in the laundry chute. I think my problem lay in the fact that I wasn't folding the clothes as soon as they came out of the dryer. I'd take them out of the dryer, pile them into a laundry basket, and set the laundry basket outside of the bathroom door (where the washer and dryer are, the guest bathroom on the main floor of the house -- what genius thought that up? I have about two square feet of standing room while I transfer clothes from washer to dryer. But hey, at least I HAVE a dryer. So I can't complain too much.). Then, after the laundry had been tossed out of the basket for the fiftieth time that day (by my two little laundry-helpers), strewn all over the floor, piled back into the basket, strewn all over the floor again, thrown back into the basket, frantically hauled upstairs, and thrown on the bed in the master bedroom, it would get smaller and smaller (if I wasn't adding new loads of wrinkled recently-washed clothes to it) day after day as I picked out what I wanted to wear from the pile. Eventually, my two little laundry-helpers would take whatever was left from the dog-hair-covered (the dog sleeps on the floor of our bedroom, hence everything that touches the floor gets at least one dog hair stuck to it) pile of clothes and would, being the helpful little creatures that they are, lovingly -- no, scratch that, gleefully -- throw it down the laundry chute for me to wash again. I find the most interesting things in the laundry chute. I should make a list over the course of a week, that could be a blog all on its own.

Mike has been working hard stripping wallpaper from the master bedroom and bathroom and the loft upstairs. There were two layers of wallpaper in the loft, so that was tedious to remove. The bedroom was easy in comparison, with just a border at the top that wasn't glued down very well. It actually looked as though it may have fallen down any day anyway. Mike just helped it along. The bedroom and bathroom were once a hideous shade of pink. Pink walls, black tile. Niiiiiiiiice. I'm going to go with a light shade of blue on the bedroom walls, and a darker tint of the same shade of blue in the bathroom. There is a skylight in the bathroom, so there is usually a ton of light in there, so it should handle the color well. The accents in the two rooms will be peach/coral and off-white. Imagine a cream-colored rose that fades into peaches and corals in the center. That's what I'm going for. I got a great deal on some dried flowers (tiny wine-colored roses and some peachy-colored flowers that I don't know the name of) at a local Michaels that is moving, and I think the colors will go perfectly in there. Then there is all of that black tile, so another accent color will be black by default. I can use it, though. It will be modern shabby chic. I can't wait!! Mike is prepping the walls for painting tonight, getting all of the tiny bits of remaining wallpaper off, scraping the walls down, and plastering the rough spots, and then once the plaster dries we can sand, prime, and then paint! It's a slow process, but totally worth it. These are rooms we spend a lot of time in, so they should look good, right?

I'm done for tonight. I'm sure I'll write more often than I have been. I think I needed a little bloggity break.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Thirty and Three

I began writing this on Friday night, after a very eventful day, and am posting it a few days late. I need to get with Bonnie to make sure I have all of the details straight, so I might update it later today after hearing what she remembers. We promised to help each other remember what happened, because it was a very memorable day and evening that neither of us want to forget!


My day began (well, the exciting part, anyway) when I was opening the front blinds this morning. It was hard to miss the big cat carrier and bag of cat food sitting on the front porch. At first, I thought that maybe Bonnie and Caleb had gone out of town and left their cats with us. But then I quickly thought, no, they wouldn't do that to me... much less their cat!! I opened the front door and as soon as I saw it, I knew. There was a note on top of that cat carrier. I felt a big sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I came to the realization that someone had actually dropped their cat off on my front porch! The note was simple, yet gave all the important details about Zodiac. The sick feeling in my stomach wasn't going away, and I really couldn't handle being around him too much, because I didn't want to get attached to him. He also stank. Shallow of me, I know, but after sitting in a carrier all night, which I knew he had been because he and the carrier and the note and the bag of cat food were all soaked in rainwater, and he also had the distinct odor of... other stuff... on him. I brought him in, and Griffin kept asking me questions about where he came from, what would we do with him, was he scared, why did somebody leave him on our front porch, would we take him to the same place we took the tiny baby bunny we rescued a few weeks ago, and pretty soon I just needed to leave the house. I couldn't get ahold of anyone connected to any animal control or rescue places, and was getting frustrated. So I sent out a big mass e-mail asking if anyone knew of someone who wanted a cat, packed the boys into the van, and left the house.

When I got back home, my head had cleared, and I even had a promising e-mail from a friend who works with a lady who helps animals find adoptive homes! She will pick him up tomorrow, which means he has to put up with us for one more night, but now that I know he'll be finding a good home soon, I can rest easy. -- Just a note, today is Sunday and she still hasn't picked up Zorro yet, so we're still waiting!!

Well, the rest of the afternoon was fairly uneventful. Sammy woke up early from his nap, which is totally unlike him, so I got to spend a couple of hours with just him before Griffin, the Birthday Boy who turned three years old today, woke up. Sammy wanted to snuggle, give me lots of little puckered-lip kisses, and talk on the telephone. Yeah, it was a good afternoon. :) Bonnie and Caleb even came over (they had taken Bonnie's birthday off -- yes, it's Bonnie's birthday too, she turned thirty this year) and stayed for a while to check out Zodiac, whom I have nicknamed Zorro because of his many skillz with his claws. He can even open cabinet doors (provided they do not have child safety locks on them). He also scratches. I think he's just scared, which is completely understandable after a long, wet night away from his home, and a big, black dog who snuffles around his carrier a bit too often for his liking.

This evening was an amazingly eventful time also. Thanks to my wonderful, loving, adorable, kind-hearted sister who babysat Sammy for us (is that enough brown-nosing? I don't think so), Mike, Griffin and I got to take Bonnie and Caleb out for a wonderful dinner at Brio Tuscan Grill on the Plaza. It was interesting, to say the least!! I had made reservations for seven thirty, but we didn't end up getting to the restaurant until eight thirty because of a longer-than-usual massage (Bonnie's birthday was worth the extra time!), a very amusing jaunt up into a Plaza parking garage (we should have realized we were in for trouble when the people coming out of the garage were waving wildly at us and shouting something unintelligible) which abruptly ended when we and all of the cars following us realized that we had ended up at a wall and the only thing to do was back, caravan-style, down the curvy ramps to freedom, and then culminated in a few blocks' walk to get to the restaurant (Bonnie still didn't know where we were going, but figured it out on the walk there. Then we waited for about twenty or thirty minutes to be seated. Griffin opened his present, a Leapfrog laptop, while we waited, and it kept him entertained. We had gotten a bit tired of waiting, so Bonnie and Caleb decided to use the restrooms, which they said is a scientifically proven way to get your buzzer to go off and be shown to a table. Try it sometime. Just wait until you think you can't possibly wait another minute, and then send one or two people from your party to the restroom, and watch the magic happen. It worked for us! No sooner had they left our sight than our buzzer started lighting up and vibrating. We got a good laugh out of that. Luckily, the table we were seated at was right next to the restrooms, so Bonnie and Caleb found us easily when they came out.

So we settled ourselves in and, having already looked at the menu while waiting for a table, placed our order with our server, a nice black lady who would have had a big 'fro if it hadn't been pulled back into a cute bushy ponytail. I'll call her B, because I have no idea what her name was, and the restaurant's name started with a B. Creative, aren't I? Well, B was a good server, but I'll bet she was glad when we left. And she probably didn't laugh about our experience quite as hard as we did. Let me explain...

We waited for our food to arrive, and while we waited they brought out baskets of fresh bread, and these triangular cracker-like wafers with flax seeds and rosemary, which were so flavorful and yummy! The bread was delicious too, but there was only one minor problem. The one lonely butter pat they gave us (elegantly displayed on a clean white plate) was almost enough for Mike to butter his bread with. So we requested some more. B brought out two more pats after we had waited just long enough for the bread to cool down so that the butter wouldn't melt nicely on it anymore. We finished our drinks while waiting for our food, and B refilled our water glasses and graciously offered to bring Caleb another Dr. Pepper. Only when Caleb tasted his new drink, he made a face when he realized it was, heaven forbid, DIET, and after sniff-tests by Mike and Bonnie, it was decided that yes, it definitely was diet and would have to be replaced. Caleb told B when she came around again that he needed regular, not diet, and she graciously took the drink away and brought him his Dr. Pepper.

We had received our salads by this time, but as Bonnie and Caleb came to realize after a few bites, the kitchen had failed to leave the onions off of their salad (they had split one), as Caleb had requested. So they told B nicely that there were onions on the salads and that they would really like salads with no onions, and she, now a bit flustered, took the salads away, saying it would take them literally just a few seconds to make new salads with no onions on them. She came back a minute later, and Bonnie only found one onion in hers, so they were happy. The dressing was even put on the side, to show them that the second salad had been made especially for them.

I shared my salad with Mike and Griffin, because it was too much to eat all by myself, but boy, was it good!! I had been looking forward to this salad ever since I had been to Brio the first time, with Bonnie, several months ago. It's called Bistecca Insalata -- a big hunk of lettuce with lots of crumbled bacon, chopped tomatoes, gorgonzala cheese, and a creamy Parmesan dressing. They give you a big steak knife to cut it with. Mike and Griffin really liked it too, but I think I was the only one moaning with pleasure.

We finished our salads, with Griffin happily playing away on his new laptop. (Before you think we over-indulge our kids, let me tell you that the "laptop" only cost $19.95, less than a third of what our dinner cost, and it was worth every penny! Both the dinner and the laptop were.) The food arrived shortly after, and we dug in hungrily. Well, all of us except for Griffin. There had been a mix-up of some sort, and his much-anticipated macaroni and cheese did not arrive with everyone else's food. We asked the guy who had brought out our food, and he apologized and hurried back to the kitchen, saying he would check on it. After about five minutes, and after watching him deliver food to two other tables, we knew he wasn't going to bring out the macaroni, and we flagged B down and asked her about it. I could almost hear her growl as she scurried away from the table to track down Griffin's birthday meal. She brought it back a couple of minutes later, apologizing profusely.

We had been eating for a little while when I checked my watch to see how we were doing on time. (I had called Christy, who was babysitting Sammy, on the way to the restaurant to let her know that we wouldn't be getting back until about 9:30 because we had gotten a late start.) OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I gasped as I realized it was 9:40, ten minutes AFTER I had said we'd pick up Sammy, and we hadn't even had dessert yet! (Not to mention the fact that it would take us thirty minutes to get home, and another ten to get to her house.) We had told Griffin that we'd be getting a special dessert because we were celebrating two birthdays, and B was already planning on bringing it out to us, so we felt like we should wait for it.

I tried to call Christy at her house and at mine, thinking that maybe she had taken Sammy home and put him to bed since it was so late, but no one answered at either place, so we plodded along with our meal, getting antsier by the minute and thinking about how upset Christy would be with us because we were "taking our sweet time" while she was waiting with a child we were sure was being a holy terror.

We had requested four of our meals to be boxed up, and were waiting for both the desserts and our boxed food to be returned to us. B brought out Bonnie's boxed up pasta and my leftover pizza, and then asked if Griffin was done eating yet. Well, poor Griffin had received his macaroni much later than the rest of us, and then had to wait for it to cool down before beginning to eat. His reaction when I attempted to steal his plate: hold on for dear life and don't let her take it away!!! I started to pick it up and asked as I did so "Are you done, Griffin?" He looked shocked and quickly said "NO!" and grabbed his plate. He drew it back toward him and calmly set it back on the table as we all cracked up, holding our sides and laughing.

We discussed what flavors of gelato we wanted, and settled on raspberry sorbet for Bonnie and Caleb, and mocha for, erm, well, for "Griffin". And me. It was SO GOOD. I would go back just for the mocha gelato! And Griffin's mac 'n cheese was pretty darn tasty too. Even the second time around. Yes, I ate his leftovers for lunch the next day. Tee Hee!! I gave him a few noodles, don't worry, he wasn't deprived. But we almost didn't get to take our mac 'n cheese leftovers home with us, because B forgot to bring it back to the table. When she came to bring us the bill, I asked her about the leftovers, and she once again hurried off to the kitchen, bringing them back a few minutes later. It's a good thing it took her a few minutes, because otherwise she would have heard Caleb's hilarious comment, followed by various sound effects and uproarious laughter, about how it probably wouldn't matter if Griffin's leftovers had been thrown away, because they most likely had a big vat of mac 'n cheese just bubbling away back there in the kitchen. (This might only make Bonnie and Caleb laugh, but I have to...Bloop.)

We finished our gelato and waited and waited and waited, and finally she brought back Mike's credit card and our leftovers (apparently NOT from the big vat, because she brought back Mike's leftovers too, which I had forgotten about) so that we could sign and leave. Mike made it a point to go talk to her as we were packing up. He made sure she knew that we appreciated her service. She apologized profusely for everything that had gone wrong, but he assured her that it had been a fun experience for all of us, and that we knew she had done everything in her power to serve us well. She got a good tip.

We walked back to the van and climbed in. As I strapped Griffin into his seat, he looked at me with sleepy eyes and said "Mommy, I'm tired." If you know Griffin, you are probably laughing your head off right now, because he never EVER admits that he is tired.

Okay, just when you think the story is over, it gets even better.

So we're driving away from the restaurant, and this dude in a dark van is leaning out of his driver's side window *While He's Driving* -- I'm talking both shoulders and his head outside the van while he's going 50 miles an hour -- "with his elbow hanging down to the hubcap," as Bonnie put it. We debated for a minute whether it was his hand or his elbow, because it was hanging down so far that for the average person, it would have been the appropriate place for a hand, but as we got closer to him we realized it was, in fact, his elbow! He must have been rather tall. He appeared to be following a little red car full of teenage girls. They didn't seem to acknowledge the fact that he was risking life and, uh, "limb" (sorry, I couldn't resist) to stay as close to them as possible. Fortunately for us (and our amusement), the red car and the van turned onto the highway with us. As the van passed us, I got a good look at the Hangman, and we laughed all over again as we caught the deathly serious look on his face, combined with dark sunglasses!! The car and van switched places a lot; sometimes the red car would take the lead and sometimes the dark van would be in front. It was like a curious gangly teenage sunglass-wearing dance. We laughed the entire way home.

Griffin must have been kept awake by our talk of the Hangman, because he was still awake when we pulled into the driveway. Mike went to Christy's house to pick up Sammy. I had talked to Christy on our walk back to the van after we got done eating, and she had assured me that Sammy had been asleep since nine. I still felt bad, because I knew we were keeping her up way past her bedtime. Anyway, as I took Griffin's shoes off and prepared to take him upstairs, he looked me in the eye and asked "Mommy, can I go night-night now?"

"Yes," I assured him, "now you can go night-night". It was eleven o'clock.